Students get behind-the-scenes look at growing veggies

GREENFIELD, Tenn. — Local students are getting the hands-on experience of growing some of the vegetables they eat on a daily basis.

Weakley County Schools has partnered with the Northwest Tennessee Local Food Network to incorporate nutrition learning into schools.

After receiving a USDA Planning Grant, school leaders reached out to Blackberry Pond Farm in Martin for them to provide hydroponic greens to students.

“We delivered a package of greens that we have grown, started growing back in December, to the elementary school students so that they can sample various different types of greens that we’ve grown, and then to do an experiment to see how the greens, the lettuces regrow,” said James Miller, the owner of Blackberry Pond Farm.

Director of School Nutrition, Trista Snider says having good nutrition is a must for students.

She says this was a great opportunity for students to see how greens are made locally, while also getting a chance to learn the health benefits.

“The more hands-on experience that they’re able to have with the foods that they’re eating, we think that it makes them more receptive to wanting to try new things and to try to eat healthier,” Snider said.

Hydroponically grown greens are unique in the fact that they are grown while sitting in water the entire time.

Each classroom will prepare to grow their own, showing students the entire process of where some of their daily foods come from.

“All it takes is just a small amount of water. All the nutrients that the plants need, we place in the water so that it’s taken up by the roots into the plant,” Miller said.

Kimberly Laws, a second grade teacher at Greenfield School, says exposing students to something new opens their minds to different opportunities.

“It allows the students to try something they may not have tried before and learn about a new type of growth. Most of them are probably not familiar with the hydroponics growth process, so I think that’s something that they’ll be excited to try,” Laws said.

Snider says in the spring, high school students will get a chance to experience the same thing, but this time with strawberries.

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